As a Midwesterner, born and bred, I was unaware of the black and white cookie, and of the cult built up around it on the east coast. These tasty treats are really more cake like than cookie like, but they are deserving of their status as a must-have treat when you are in a New York Deli.
There is an interesting back story to these cookies. Originally, they were the results of bakeries and delis having left over cake batter. The baker would take the remaining batter, make drop cookies and then ice them. Half the cookie got vanilla icing, the other half was iced with chocolate. They soon became a hit, people loved the idea of a hand held treat that looked like a cookie but tasted like cake.
Two Types Of Icing On One Cookie
Half the fun of a black and white is the icing. The vanilla icing is a traditional topping, using corn syrup and powdered sugar. The chocolate side uses the same vanilla icing, but with dark cocoa powdered added. Some bakers use semi sweet chocolate, others use milk chocolate, but traditionalists insist on dark chocolate. The icing is moderately thick and dense and helps give the cookie a very sweet taste.
The cookie itself is a drop cookie, but the batter is more like a traditional white cake. Usually these cookies are quite large, you will want to use a scoop to drop the batter onto baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper.
I suggest using a stand mixer for this recipe. The batter is thick and you want to make sure everything gets blended very well. A hand mixer will also work.
Black And White Cookie Recipe
2 3/4 cups all purpose
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk, preferably whole milk
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
6 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder
For the cookies:
In a bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar and zest and cream together.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and blend well.
Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
Using a scoop (about 1/4 cup), drop the cookies on your prepared baking sheets, about 3″ apart.
Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes, until the sides are golden brown and the tops set.
Cool on a wire rack completely before icing.
For the icing:
In a large bowl, add the corn syrup, powdered sugar and 5 tablespoons of the hot water. Mix well, adding more hot water if needed to make the icing spreadable. Don’t make the icing too thin.
Separate the icing into two bowls. In one bowl, beat in the vanilla. In the other bowl, add the chocolate.
Flip a cookie over and frost 1/2 with the vanilla icing. Let set for 20 minutes, that add the chocolate icing to the other half. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the icing set.